1. Invest in employees
The Business Roundtable CEOs recognize the critical nature of employees to drive this change. Indeed, their second commitment, “includes supporting [employees] through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world.”
CEOs need to invest the time, attention, and cash to provide learning resources for their teams – at all levels – to build the knowledge and skills that are required to consider and serve all stakeholders. Conscious Company, Inspiring Capital, and B Lab have abundant content about the launch of Powering Purposeful Growth.
2. Facilitate innovation and change
In parallel with helping employees understand what it means to serve all stakeholders, and how to do it, CEOs and their leadership teams throughout the business need to ensure their organisations enable, incentivise, and reward innovation. As we change our collective goals, we have to change the metrics by which we measure success.
And with change comes failure. Leaders must make abundantly clear with their words, performance management systems, meeting formats, and other operational processes that failure is acceptable, as long as it leads to learning and improvement.
3. Report back transparently
Finally, these 181 CEOs and other progressive business leaders must share what they learn over coming quarters and years about this shift. They should take note of occasions when the broadened view enhanced innovation, employee engagement, or customer loyalty, as research has shown it can.
They should also note, and share openly, the cases of increased expenditure, process breakdown, or other challenges along the way. This transparency will not only build trust and respect internally and externally but also scale the impact of their commitment by providing a clear roadmap for other leaders.
The Business Roundtable Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation and the full list of signatories is available here.
NOTE: Whilst this statement and commitment has been made by business leaders in the U.S, it is relevant to us here in Australia and a great example set for business leaders here in Australia to follow.